What does COVID-19 mean for me?

I may be late on this, I might not. You might find this useful especially if there’s a “second wave” of this coronavirus that’ll hit us again come the fall when they say it’ll mix in with the flu. Fun times!

Many of us have been under a shelter-in-place order for more than a month now and it’s been, for lack of a better word, interesting.

What have you noticed? Here’s a list of things that I’ve noticed in recent times when it comes to brands, companies and their marketing efforts.

  • Companies have “pivoted” to help as much as possible. Whether that’s a brewery transforming into a hand sanitizer factory, or a medical equipment company deciding to make ventilators, companies are taking a minute to help as best they can.
  • Instead of me, me, me, it’s now all about us. Many companies have taken this opportunity to provide services that meet people where they are, being resourceful and sharing information that’s important to their customers and consumers.
  • Traditional companies who haven’t necessarily made a digital dent are trying their hardest to do just that. They’re taking to the interwebs and social media to show off what they can do. This includes artists, libraries, restaurants and more.
  • Advertising is reflecting on the moment. They’re taking the coronavirus head on and being creative for the time at hand. Big companies like YouTube, Apple and Google are reflecting on what these uncertain times mean for their customers. Teachers are putting together videos of their students singing or reciting poetry. How can your company or business do something similar?

Small businesses who have loyal customers should remember that there is no shame asking for help. If you have a website that allows you to sell online, use it to ask for donations. This is also the time to consider what you can do moving forward to retain those customers and build a good relationship with them. Is it remembering their birthday month? Building a Facebook page where you communicate directly with them all week? Have sales for VIP members? There are things to consider.

What are you doing now to keep your doors open? Have you done any research on small business loans now that there’s money floating around? Do your research.

Another thing to consider is your tone and word usage at this time. Have you changed it? Are you trying to be more empathetic in your messaging? Are you trying to connect more for your audience during this uncertain time?

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out: cliquecommunications@gmail.com

Get your KPIs in line

KPIs. These are what we call Key Performance Indicators. Basically, it’s the determining factor for a post being successful. So, let’s say you’re writing up a post for Facebook and you have an event that you’re going to link in your post and you want RSVPs. You’re obviously posting for the promotion of the event and want people to click to the event to RSVP. Right? Well, at least, it should be what you want. Now, what’s the determining factor for success? Is it likes or loves on the post? Comments? Clicks? Or are they RSVPs to the actual event?

If you said RSVPs, that would be correct. Not exactly rocket science. Another way to look at the KPI is the CTA (Call To Action), which is answering the question “What do you want people to do?”

Every post should have a CTA.
Every. Single. One.

Now, I’ve talked to many people who have done things like this and didn’t have their KPI aligned. They may want folks to click through to their website, to make a purchase, let’s say. The ad runs and they get 10 clicks. That’s a start, but they didn’t get any reactions (likes, loves, sad, angry) and they say, “Well, no one liked my post!”

Sorry to break it to you, but, that’s not what you ran the ad for. That’s called the optimization. Said person didn’t optimize for the correct action.

WHAT IN THE HECK DOES THAT MEAN FOR ME? I don’t blame you for asking. See, when you choose what you want Facebook to optimize for, you’re telling Facebook to serve the ad up to people who perform that action frequently and fall within your demographic segment. So if you want clicks, they’ll get you clicks. If you want engagements, they got you there, too. The thing is, you can’t, at this point, optimize for both.

See, you have to keep in mind what you’re asking of your audience in order to fully determine your success rate. And having only one option for them is the best option for you.

Does this make you dizzy? Don’t worry, I can help.
Got questions? Drop me a line: cliquecommunications@gmail.com

Content is, and will always be, King.

Have you heard the saying, “Content is king”? In this day and age, there is a lot of content going around. From Snapchat to TikTok, there are videos to entertain generations. There are so many channels that survive on user generated content and become content hubs. And you think, using content marketing you’ll have to be on every single channel. Just remember, this content has to be of quality. For each channel.

There’s millions and probably trillions of hours of content, of random people trying to get the most likes of their lives out there, and doing whatever it takes to get them. And you have to battle against all of those content creators by creating content about your business. Tough luck.

But, it’s possible to do. It’s possible to create quality content for your audience that lives up to everything your brand stands for and hits your target market.

There are certain elements you have to consider to make the best content for your channel of choice:
– Who is your market?
– What’s your message?
– How do you make it relevant?
– Who’s the main channel demo?

Now a days, people can read through the bullshit. There’s so much good content that folks are really going to dislike the bad content and call it out. Consumers understand quality and a lot of times, advertisers underestimate that even on social media. In this case, you can be considered an advertiser because you’re pushing your service in exchange for lead generation. That’s content marketing.

That’s also why your content has to be top quality so that people stop and pay attention. You want your business to win over paying customers, right? And what if those paying customers see a typo in your message and can’t get over it, or lose trust in you because it shows a sign of laziness. How will they trust you to do your job correctly, if you can’t sell your service with pride in attention to detail? I’m biased; I’m a writer. But I’m sure you can see what I’m saying. Have pride in your work and your business!

In all seriousness, quality of your content says a lot about you and your company. So take a second to review, spell check, grammar check and ask a friend to take a look for any additional feedback. Make sure you have the right creative sizes (Google it!) for the content you’re posting, and make sure those creative pieces are engaging and tell the story correctly. Just a few tips.

Want to learn more? Need help with your content or content strategy? Got questions for me?

Send an email to cliquecommunications@gmail.com.

The Importance of Teaching Leadership

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to work with students. Usually, during my extracurricular time, I do. I enjoy it. I get to walk students through situations I’ve learned from and I get to help educate them on things that they don’t teach any of us in school.

In collaboration with Mind + Hand, “a technology-centric “micro-university” that provides higher education, college preparation, job retraining and entrepreneurship education through structured learning programs and a maker space,” according to its website, I decided to put what I’ve learned down into a curriculum for younger individuals. This is so that the youth who are just starting their journeys into career development and adulthood, can have the insight to develop their path as they go– instead of learning so much later in life, like many of us do.

This course is a fundamental introduction to what leadership is, starting with an introspective view of self to then understanding the concept of having an impact for the betterment of community and society.

My goal is to elevate students’ perspectives and understanding so that their jumping off point is a little higher and they can acheive more.

So here are some of my reasons as to why I think teaching leadership is important.

  1. Learn Confidence: Confidence is key. Leaders have confidence. 
    • As long as someone tells a student “you can” and has faith in them to push foward, there is a higher chance that the student will. Students need to understand the power they hold as individuals. Many leaders know this.
    • For students, earning a grade to pass isn’t necessarily constructive in terms of confidence. Years go by and they go through processes where they’re graded against a standard. In a pass/fail educational system, confidence is tricky since the only way they learn about this is in their social circles, with various personalities who can be less than kind.
  2. Learn how to adapt others’ strategies to your own: Studying what others have done wrong or right and learning from them is the best way to understand the situations and decide what you would do. 
    • Like mentorship, understanding “leaders” that we see in our every day helps to break down their decision-making and opportunities as a group.
    • When discussing leaders, identifying them and dissecting why they are considered “leaders” helps to further educate students on the appropriate ways to execute, communicate, and plan.
  3. Learning to find the Leader in yourself: Everyone is a leader in some capacity. It’s there, it just has to be brought out and highlighted. 
    • James Humes, former presidential speech writer, said, “The art of communication is the languge of leadership.” And if we all learn how to communicate effectively, there is an opportunity to be and become a leader.
  4. Learning to Speak and Communicate effectively: Understanding that communication can showcase and bring out leadership qualitites. Many people think leadership is dictating and managing, but alas, it is not. 
    • Being a leader means that you have to know how to talk to people; to make a connection with people; to share your ideas and concepts to make things happen.
  5. Learn to Hold Yourself to personal Standards: When you elevate standards, people will perform at those standards. 
    • Having a set of standards for oneself helps in accomplishing more than one could have considered. To bring them up from just getting a C average to being kind and open to listening is a huge step that not just helps them to understand self-worth but also responsibility to others.

27072420_2006561082718070_4278083472309704471_nKnow a student from the ages of 17-22 who would be interested in this journey? We’re accepting students now for the first cohort. The cost is $15 for approximately 12 weeks, less than a dollar per session.

Mind + Hand is located at 5400 South Pulaski Rd. on the second floor. 

Have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment or reach out to me.

It’s a new year: Time to switch up the algorithm!

For those of you who haven’t seen Zuck’s announcement about “meaningful social interactions,” here it is. Take a second to read that and then come back and read the rest of the blog. We’ll be here.

[JEOPARDY MUSIC]

Did you get it? Did that Facebook update explain everything you needed to know moving forward?

Let’s break it down. You’ll see my notes in the photo.FBPic

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, starts off by saying that he wants to focus on “time well spent” on the platform. That is to say, that Facebook has become a mess of opinions, advertisements, marketing ploys and videos.

He goes on to say that the initial point of Facebook was to bring friends and family closer together, but that public content has gotten in the way of that. What we do know is that Facebook allowed that to happen and even encouraged it. They continue to do so by limiting the reach of organic content (the posts that you create without monetary support) and making you “pay-to-play” if you are a Page or business. This means that you have to pay money for your content to be seen by more than 10% (possibly less) of your Facebook fans and followers.

Zuck mentions studies and research that they’ve done regarding their audience’s well-being. This just translates into what most of us already know; Facebook shows you more of what you interact with. But the question is, how are you supposed to interact with something that you never have the opportunity to see? This is where brands, media and business lose. Although people have Liked your pages and have chosen to follow you, they won’t see more of your content, they’re going to see less. This means that it will cost more for your ads and content to be seen, whether you’re a multi-million dollar business or a local business in our neighborhoods. That’s if you put out any ads at all. Many small businesses don’t understand how, so they never do. Sometimes, this can be beneficial.

Is this necessarily fair? No. Not at all, actually. If people have come to Like your Page because of the type of organization you are, they would probably like to see your content and engage with you. However, at this point, those fans can’t even do that, making it almost necessary for businesses and brands to pay for content promotion.

If you haven’t noticed, over time, you’ve seen less and less engagement on your posts– Reach, Likes, Comments. The funny thing they mention is that “video and other public content have exploded” but they allowed it to happen. How? Well, when Facebook changed their algorithm in 2016, it was to favor video content. Back then they wanted content to be “meaningful” the same way they want interactions to be “meaningful” now. Facebook is literally determining what that word means.

Facebook started battling YouTube for video uploads, which also aligns with ad sales. We know the metrics and statistics– even if you wanted to watch all the videos in your lifetime, you couldn’t possibly do it. Although Facebook picked up on the video uploads category, they didn’t supersede YouTube in their effort. However, they’re not backing down. News a few weeks ago mentioned that Facebook is making a deal with Universal music so that people can now use certain songs for videos. That’s most likely for individuals, not Pages.

The real attempt here is to get rid of stupid content. Yes, that’s biased and unprofessional to say, but it’s true. Facebook no longer wants you to dig for Likes or Reactions. Facebook wants quality, feel-good content that inspires people to engage in conversation. That means that Comments and Shares are worth more to your marketing and business strategy than a “simple” Like, Love, Tear, Laugh or Angry face.

This is why many people have stopped counting the number of Impressions as anything valuable. An Impression is how many times people see your content. Not unique views, which is defined as Reach. If someone sees content multiple times, the opportunity to shut them off is more plausible, basically because they’ll get sick of seeing the same thing.

Many marketers have always put quality of content over the quantity of posts because it does allow for people to engage in conversations. And unlike many multi-million dollar brands that have the money to develop fun giveaways or fancy videos, what entrepreneurs and small businesses have is authenticity. And that is what you have to harness in order to grow.

How to do it right? Well, that’s another story.

 

 

 

Social Media: Path of destruction

We’ve all heard those stories, haven’t we? Divorces caused by Facebook. Cyber bullying causing suicides. Following on social media also means availability to follow you in real life. This path of malicious destruction has turned a lot of people off to social media yet we all still talk about it and it isn’t going anywhere any time soon. I find myself saying, “I’d get off of Facebook if only I didn’t need it for work…” or school or contacts. Do you do this, too?

“I would get off of Facebook but….” *I don’t really want to.*

It’s all too real for me. Maybe it’s because of the people I follow or because of who I choose to surround myself with (a bunch of skeptical realists) but some of the following things have really hit home for me.

In the past few months, I’ve seen communities get shattered because of bullying; people jumping to conclusions and helping to create their own fake news; the live streaming of people getting abused or killed; the satisfaction of people knowing just enough so that social and physical contact is no longer necessary; the development of courageous and brave “activists” only to meet the complete opposite in real life. These folks act almost as if they are living in the Matrix, that they forget that they can do something physical instead of just vent or rant on an anonymous profile page.

The one thing we’ve all learned? Everyone has an opinion. 

But how do you use your own brand or business to break through the clutter? How do you take what everyone has been posting and think like a disruptor? Those who do, bust through the mold of static images, boring posts and sad, sad “news.”

What have we seen “go viral”? Doesn’t it include an animal or something funny? Doesn’t it include something heart-felt and genuine? Doesn’t it include something that gets a rise out of you– makes you dig into your passions and make you pull out something that hasn’t seen the light of day in years?

Those are the elements that create impact on an ad hoc basis. We know that Facebook and Twitter have their own algorithms. Yes, they can be hacked. Yes, they can be altered. Yes, they change frequently. But if you can engage your followers, you have a chance at breaking through. A chance.

Social media is becoming a wasteland of space and time if you let it be, but realizing that there are more channels than Facebook (the most popular and populous), Twitter (the storytelling, wave-making, attention-getting peanut gallery) and SnapChat (the app kids too young for marketers to think about use ALL the time), can help sort out the first step in your social media process. Though these are the most talked about, you also have to understand how the platform is used, how you can evenutally be innovative with it and if your demographic is using it.

And along with that comes listening to that demographic.

What are the hip trends on the feeds? What do you see the most of your friends and networks posting? In what areas can you develop and contribute the best content?

The world of Social Media is changing drastically. All.The.Time.

I recall a few years ago when the Atlantic published a piece on how Twitter was literally sinking.  But what happened? The president. Recently, there was a poll that believed Facebook would be the first to die which made me consider the Princeton research predicition that emerged in 2014, saying that Facebook would lose 80% of its users by 2017.  That didn’t happen, but why didn’t it? You could say BS predicition or you can say innovation and sales.

The more I see and study the successes of others in the field of social marketing, the more I notice that they’re reverting back to the old ways of thinking. I saw that happening about 2 years ago. At the time, I could already see some tactics used by social media strategists dying out and wondered what the next wave of innovation would be. I wondered how we were going to keep things alive, developing turn key projects that would survive the constant commercialism and limitations that come with it on these various platforms.

Your thoughts? Paths of destruction or room for growth?

 

The EXPO Collective

Save the Date
Save the Date

What is the EXPO Collective? People have been asking for some time. Actually, since we started putting it out there. The EXPO Collective started because a trio of us decided that we could put on events in Pilsen and organize artists for quarterly events with our partners over at BLUE 1647, located at 1647 South Blue Island.

What we want to do is integrate the community in a new and progressive way of looking at art. Though the beauty comes from the visual aesthetic, what we want to do is create a hodgepodge of different art that works together. Yes, we could be considered, simply enough, party planners. But the entirety of the event is meant to give a well-rounded and sensory experience, full of sound and insight into new art work.

This is our goal. We will be working toward this as we continue to put the events together. The neighborhood will be involved, and its residents, artistic and full of life will be the creators.

Among other things, the EXPO Collective plans on being a portal; a way to find new artists to bring into the community and a way to expose neighborhood artists to the rest of the city.

Yes, we have big plans and it will only work with the support of our friends and artists. Your support is very much appreciated. Currently, a main supporter of ours is Arte y Vida Chicago, who has been a supporter of the arts in Chicago, and more, Hispanic art and culture, for six years publicly and going strong.

If you know of artists who would like to get involved, please let us know by filling out the form below or finding us one of the following ways:

You can follow each of us on Twitter: @Kiki416 @RohoArte @NACOArt

Follow us on Tumblr: http://expocollective.tumblr.com/

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExpoCollective

Use the hash tag: #EXPOCollective

Email us at: expo.collectivo (at) gmail (dot) com

“Celebrating the Establishment” Applauds South Side Mexican Culture

Jasso, Naco, MSilva Exhibit Cultural Art at Little Village’s Prosper Skate Shop

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In an effort to share in the cultural celebration of Chicago’s “Capital of the Mexican Midwest,” three artists
known for their street art and illustrations will be exhibiting their work Friday, July 5, 2013 at Prosper skate shop located at 2620 S. Central Park, from 6 to 10 p.m. in the heart of La Villita.

The exhibit titled “Celebrating the Establishment,” honors the 40-year foundation of Mexican culture on the city’s Southwest Side.

corncob

The Little Village corridor has proven its worth and wealth and is only second to the Magnificent Mile in annual revenue. To increase the worth of the culture, these individuals hope that this exhibit encourages the creative stimulation of art within the Little Village boundaries.

Naco, Jasso and MSilva have worked together in different capacities in the past years lending a visually artistic hand to communal efforts and educational art programming on the South Side. Their next conjoined effort will go toward the development and execution of a mural, located in Little Village community, meant to spread peace, prosperity and to share in the celebration of culture. Fundraising efforts for this endeavor will begin the night of the exhibit.

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Naco and Jasso have been known for their street art in the form of murals and wheat pastes along the 26th street corridor, while MSilva has leant a hand to the creation of posters, signs and banners for community events and organizations.

About the Artists:

Naco: With a BFA in Illustration from the American Academy of Art, Naco has experience in teaching and decorating underserviced communities that lack exposure to art.

MSilva:  MSilva graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in graphic design. He also works with various mediums such as screen printing, illustration, wood carving and paper making.

Jasso:  Known for his wheat pasting and street art, Jasso works with mediums such as acrylic, spray paint and on various surfaces including canvas and fabrics.

Please RSVP to the even on Facebook!

[Chicago Artists] An Artist of the Senses: Roho

My first love is between art and fútbol. Art is life. Vida es mi arte, I like to say. So it can be, at times, rough around the edges or it can be fine, depending on the moment. –Erick “Roho” Garcia

The wall located on 18th Place and Throop in the Pilsen neighborhood outside the beauty salon was bare for quite some time. The brown brick had room for a story, a vision and a message and Erick “Roho” Garcia wanted to bring it to life.

As soon as he had gained permission from the building owner to put up a mural, he designed it a couple of days later.  Having done pieces like this one before, the design and composition of the wall piece fell into the style of a series he has been developing on a smaller scale. The series captures women’s faces over a graffiti-style, 3D lettering behind them. The most recognizable, thus far, is of Marilyn Monroe with the word “Amor” behind her.

964809_4353930585534_1362398731_oThis wall also has a woman’s face, but with the word “Sky” next to her, based on the title of the piece, “Sky’s the Limit.”

Residents will stop to find out who he is, who the face of the woman is and to express their gratitude of the additional art beautifying the community. “That alone, is payment,” Garcia says.

As a resident of Pilsen, you may have seen him working on the wall described above, lost in music, focused on the paint. However, painting isn’t his only method of self-expression. In fact, Garcia doesn’t even call himself a painter, but an artist—an artist of the senses, more like it.

If you know anything about Garcia, you know him as a creative being and as a lover of fútbol; he usually only says it in Spanish. As a young man, Garcia threw himself into the two entities he fell in love with which have followed him as he has grown into the artist that he is.

A native of Joliet, Ill., Garcia immersed himself in graffiti and Hip-Hop, break dancing, and hanging out with his crew– The Envious Crew. Come high school, Garcia’s punishment for getting caught spray painting by his father resulted in being sent to Providence Catholic High School; away from friends, away from his life. Nevertheless, it turned out to be a blessing. It was there that he was introduced to fine art, involved himself in playing the “beautiful game” of fútbol and dabbled in theater.

His outlets and inspiration then and now are vast in variation. Keen on the beauty of creation, Garcia’s combinations show him to be unique in his collaborative mediums. From spray painting to acting on stage, mixing music for friends to dancing, Garcia surrounds himself with ways to be expressive.

His pieces of work are vibrant and lively. Filled with a mixture of blues, greens and yellows, Garcia implements what he knows onto the canvas, paper or wall he has to work with. “I’m an artist who paints on walls,” he says.

The feeling is urban, the look is imaginative. In a forward movement of experimenting and creating, Garcia carries his foundation in graffiti and love of indigenous Mexican cultures with him. It’s inevitably in all pieces, mixed with detailed human figures and faces. This is his own form of art that he’s called it “Graffiti Fine Art.”

Staring at pieces and looking at the movement, details and colors, there are almost hidden eccentricities to be discovered if you let your imagination run away with it.

In the past few years, the 28-year-old has been recognized for his soccer pieces; his attempt of capturing players in motion, depicting the essence of the moment, whether versus an opponent or oneself.

“I feel at peace when I’m integrating both. I present all that fútbol is,” he explains. “I loved it so much and I will always love it. It’s a perfect mix for me.” IMG_0352

Graffiti based over an explosion of color, Garcia’s skills have helped him develop a knack for motion. Working on large-scale pieces, solely because he felt limited by smaller canvases, Garcia created five-foot-tall images of Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Ronaldo “Ronaldinho” de Assis Moreira and Lionel Messi—some of the greatest in the game.

As a student at the American Academy of Art, Garcia took a chance on himself and his love for fútbol and tried out for the Chicago Storm, a team in the Ultimate Soccer League.

“I made the cut and it was during finals weeks at the academy and that was tricky,” he says. “My art took a little damage in terms of not spending enough time on it.”

Choosing between his love for art and his love for soccer may have resulted in a sign that he should stick to art.  The Storm didn’t return to the league the following year.

During late nights, it’s common to find Garcia mixing music, painting or writing, gathering focus in a whirlwind of motivating stimulation. Lights on, a movie on the muted television, classical music playing in the kitchen and up-beat music playing in the living room is a consistent atmosphere for his creations.

Working on his own pieces, the After School Matters instructor also works on pieces for class, developing a curriculum and method of teaching best for either his high school or elementary school students.

For Garcia, being an artist is a lifestyle full of passion and life. Whether he is acting as DJ, painter, writer or futbolista, he surrounds himself with creative energy and art.

“An artist should experiment with all types of mediums. I always keep myself really busy,” he says. “I’m an artist. Art is life, that’s the simplest explanation I can give.”

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